Julia Vergara Jane Allsopp
Julia Vergara (pictured right) and Jane Allsopp, Interim Co-Executive Directors for the Puente Project, manage over 100 Puente programs in California and Texas. They began working together in 1995 when they piloted the Puente Program at Hayward Unified School District; in 1999 they were hired by the Puente National Office to serve as statewide coordinators, providing professional development to the program’s teachers, counselors, and mentor liaisons.
julia.vergara [at] berkeley.edu jallsopp [at] berkeley.edu
Julia has devoted her professional life to working with underserved communities. Prior to coming to Puente, she worked with several non-profit organizations, focused on gang prevention and intervention programs. She attended San Jose State University where she was an outreach coordinator and her primary focus was on college access and serving rural communities that included Watsonville, Salinas, and Hollister. In Puente, she has served in various leadership roles. For the last 7 years, Julia served as the Community College Director, and under her leadership the Community College Program grew from 34 sites to 60 sites.
Julia is the proud daughter of immigrant parents from El Salvador, and is a first generation college-going student. Like so many, her parents immigrated to the United States to provide her and her brother educational opportunities they were not allotted. However, after 25 years in education, she feels not much has changed for her community. There have been a great deal of advancements made for minority groups, but in the area of education and the professional workforce there still continues to be enormous inequities. Programs like Puente help level those educational inequities experienced by Latinos, African American and other disenfranchised groups.
As Interim Co-Executive Director, Jane shares responsibility with Julia for managing the Puente Project’s middle, high, and community college programs, ensuring site teams are supported, receive high quality, relevant professional development, and that the programs are implemented according to statewide guidelines.
A native of Scotland, Jane began her post-secondary education at Edinburgh University, Scotland, then transferred to UC Berkeley, where she received a BA in English Literature. She subsequently earned a single subject teaching credential in English, a certificate for teaching reading at high school and college levels, and a Master’s Degree in Composition.
In 1995, Jane applied to become a Puente teacher and that decision brought her into what was then a small but electrifying network of educators and community members passionate about access and equity for students traditionally underrepresented in higher education. As the program and its positive effects on student outcomes have expanded, so has her appreciation for, and commitment to, the teachers, counselors, parents, and academic and community partners that make the program so successful. Since 1999, Jane has served in various leadership positions at the Puente statewide office.